Dodgers, Giants favorites to sign top international prospect Martinez
It's been exactly one week since the international signing period began, and Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez remains on the market.
It's uncertain when the 20-year-old Martinez, ranked No. 1 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects, will sign, but several teams remain in the competition to ink the prospect.
The Dodgers and Giants, the two teams that went head to head for outfielder Lucius Fox, ranked No. 3 on the international list, have each scheduled more private workouts for Martinez this week, and Los Angeles and San Francisco appear to be the front-runners. Fox signed with the Giants for $6 million on July 2 after being linked to the Dodgers for months.
The Cubs, White Sox, Rangers and Astros have each worked out Martinez privately at least twice.
Martinez could command at least a $10 million bonus, and his contract will send the team that signs him into the maximum penalty under the international signing guidelines -- 100-percent tax on the bonus pool overage and the inability to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods -- if it is not already there.
This is where the Dodgers, Giants and possibly the Cubs appear to have an advantage.
The Dodgers are already in the maximum penalty after signing Yadiel Alvarez for $16 million, outfielder Starling Heredia (ranked No. 5) for $2.6 million; infielder Ronny Brito (ranked No. 21) for $2 million; outfielders Christopher Arias for $500,000 and Carlos Rincon for $350,000; and shortstop Oneal Cruz for $950,000.
The Dodgers also signed right-handed pitcher Ramon Rosso and shortstop Damaso Marte Jr. from the Dominican Republic, Venezuelan shortstop Luis Rodriguez and Nicaraguan second baseman Aldo Espinoza. Marte, the son of former Major League pitcher Damaso Marte, signed for a $300,000 bonus, to bring the club's total to more than $22.5 million spent on international prospects so far. The Dodgers, who had an allotted bonus pool of $2,020,300, but reduced that number to $700,000 after trading away slots, will have to pay an additional estimated $21 million tax on the overage and will not be able to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two periods.
The Giants are also in the maximum penalty after signing Fox, Venezuelan catcher Ricardo Genoves for $500,000, Venezuelan pitcher Jorge Labrador for $250,000 and 15 international prospects for a total near $7.8 million. San Francisco's allotted bonus pool was $2,130,900.
The Cubs might be the dark horse. Chicago appears headed to maximum penalty after having agreed to terms with shortstop Yonathan Perlaza (ranked No. 13) for $1.3 million, outfielder Yonathan Sierra Estiwal (ranked No. 16) for $2.5 million, shortstop Aramis Ademan (ranked No. 19) for $2 million, Panamanian catcher Miguel Amaya (ranked No. 25) for $1.25 million and third baseman Christopher Martinez (ranked No. 28) for $1 million.
There's also an agreement for $600,000 with right-handed pitcher Yunior Perez of the Dominican Republic, according to industry sources. Chicago's allotted bonus pool was $3,380,400.
The Rangers, White Sox and Astros have signed several prospects, but those clubs have not spent their entire bonus pool amounts in an effort to avoid penalties for the upcoming signing periods.